Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400–1464) was a central figure of Dutch painting in the second half of the 15th century. The Bladelin Altarpiece, also known as the Middelburg Altarpiece, is the only nativity scene attributed with certainty to van der Weyden. The focal point of the triptych is the central panel representing the birth of Christ, originally located at the center of the altar in the church of Saints Peter and Paul in Middelburg, Flanders. The work was named after the finance minister of the Burgundian State and treasurer of the Order of the Golden Fleece Pieter Bladelin (c. 1410–1472), who possibly ordered its commission around the year 1450. Since 1834, the painting has been part of the collection of the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
In this presentation, Dr. Stephan Kemperdick, curator of Early Netherlandish and Early German Painting at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), discusses the genesis, compositional make-up, and iconographic attributes of van der Weyden’s masterpiece as he contextualizes the oeuvre in the wider social and artistic milieu of mid-15th-century Central Europe. The talk took place on November 4, 2020 in the framework of the 4A_Lab online seminar series.